IPB University Researchers Conduct Research to Maintain Red Color in Dry Seaweed in a Location that Lack Electricity

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By Milthon Lujan

Indonesia – Researcher and lecturer at IPB University from Faculty of Fisheries and Marine Sciences (FPIK), Prof. Dr. Linawati Hardjito conducted a research to maintain the red color on dried red seaweed. The research entitled Red Seaweed Post Harvest Technology to Support the Active Ingredient Industry of Pharmaceutics: Increasing Production Scale and Technoeconomic Analysis successfully entered the 2020 National Research Priority (PRN).

“The idea of conducting research began with a request from overseas buyers (industrial nutrition/supplements) for clean and colorful dried seaweed (purple, green, red). This color indicates that the active ingredient in seaweed is abundant even in dry conditions,” she said.

According to her, this research is also a continuation of previous research where this technology has been tested at the laboratory level in 2019. The next stage is the construction and assembly of dehumidifier dryers in Bogor (knock down) and testing the performance of the equipment. After the assembly and trial are finished, the tools are disassembled and then sent to Pamekasan. After Pamekasan, the next phase of the test was in East Nusa Tenggara, namely in Rottendao and Alor. Furthermore, the seaweed produced will be subject to laboratory tests to confirm the active ingredient content and meet buyer requirements.

The Director of Marine Biotechnology Research at IPB University said that this research produces appropriate post-harvest technology to maintain the active content of seaweed. Namely antioxidants that are usually associated with the color of seaweed. This technology can be applied at the farmer level in locations where electricity is limited.

“The principle of this technology is pre-treatment by soaking in a salt solution. Furthermore, it is dried with the principle of reducing air humidity (dehumidification) so that it does not damage the active ingredients in seaweed that can be damaged by heat and solar radiation,” she explained.

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After the application test is completed, a seaweed sale and purchase contract will be conducted between the farmer and the private partner. She conveyed that this post-harvest technology is relatively simple, does not require electricity, the price is relatively cheap and can be applied in seaweed cultivation centers which are usually located in remote areas or areas with limited facilities. The resulting seaweed can be sold at a higher price than ordinary dried seaweed because the bioactive component contained therein is not damaged.

The target of the application of this technology is the people in seaweed centers, especially the frontier areas (borders with other countries), underdeveloped and limited access to technology and markets. This research is an applied research by cooperating with private partners who will buy seaweed produced for further processing into pharmaceutical ingredient products and seaweed exports with certain active ingredients. This technology will be tested with seaweed farmers in Alor Islands, the border with East Timor, Rottendao, the border with Australia and Pamekasan.

“These two districts in NTT were chosen because they are the foremost regions and have limited access to technology. We hope that this technology can be replicated elsewhere after the application tests in Madura and NTT are completed. This research will last two years (2020-2021). After 2021, the private sector will continue this activity in other places, as well as continuing business collaboration with seaweed farmers,” she concluded. 

Source: IPB University

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